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Merger between two Manchester trusts given go-ahead


By Carolyn Wickware
2 August 2017

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Two Manchester hospitals have been given the go-ahead to merge, taking the city closer to its goal of providing a ‘single Manchester hospital service’.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) cleared the merger of Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CMFT) and University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust (UHSM) after considering its impact on patient care.

The CMA concluded in a report that the benefits to patients outweigh ‘any harm caused by a loss of competition between the merging trusts’.

Two Manchester hospitals have been given the go-ahead to merge, taking the city closer to its goal of providing a ‘single Manchester hospital service’.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) cleared the merger of Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CMFT) and University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust (UHSM) after considering its impact on patient care.

The CMA concluded in a report that the benefits to patients outweigh ‘any harm caused by a loss of competition between the merging trusts’.

The report found that the benefits to patients include reductions in patient mortality, clinical complications and infection rates.

Kathy Cowell, chairman of CMFT and interim chairman of the interim board of directors for the new Trust, said ‘strong progress’ has been made in demonstrating ‘how creating one Trust will benefit patients’.

Barry Clare, chairman of UHSM and deputy chairman of the interim board of directors, said the approval was an ‘endorsement of the hard work of clinical and non-clinical staff from the two Trusts to date’.

The merger marks the first step in creating a single Manchester hospital service, one of the ‘three pillars’ of healthcare delivery in the Manchester Health and Social Care Locality Plan.

A single Manchester hospital service would see CMFT, UHSM and Pennine Acute NHS Trust join together.

The other two ‘pillars’ include a single commissioning systems and a single integrated out-of-hospital care team.

In April, all three Manchester CCGs merged, while the city’s health and social care leaders tendered a £6bn contract to provide non-acute care across the city.

John Wotton, chair of the Manchester hospitals merger inquiry group, said confidence in the merger was ‘strengthened’ by support from commissioners, clinicians and local authorities in Greater Manchester.

‘The hospitals involved presented clear evidence and a well-reasoned case as to how the merger would be beneficial to patients and we received NHS Improvement’s advice on this – which helped us to reach our decision to clear the merger.

‘Competition currently plays a limited role in the NHS, as health commissioners and regulators have instead emphasised co-operative working to handle growing demand for NHS services.’

The two hospital trusts involved operate nine hospitals in Manchester.

UHSM operates Wythenshawe Hospital and Withington Community Hospital, and CMFT operates Manchester Royal Infirmary, Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Altrincham Hospital, Saint Mary’s Hospital, The University Dental Hospital and Trafford General Hospital.

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